So the 2econd Edition has been unleashed upon us, and it is a pretty, pretty thing. Personally, I'm still entrenched in the possibilities of 1irst edition and Powwah Combat, but there's lots of nice things to use from the new corebook.
Of course there are the mechanical and system changes, and those can only be made cross-compatible with personal eyeballing and houseruling. But I'll wager as more sourcebooks are released, we'll be finding more and more contradictions in setting. I hope discussions on those topics will take place here. I guess it's a broad Discussion for now, if it gets super crowded I'm sure Wikizens of the Future can break it up or make sub-pages. --UncleChu
Change 1: Materialized Spirits
Spirits and their materialization was a tricky and difficult thing in 1E. The errata'd Power Combat charm Dematerialize (PG p.82) explained or made clear that spirits regained essence at the same rate as Exalted while in their natural state. When gods entered the material realm, they ceased receiving essence (or elementals entering the spiritual realm, which I won't keep reiterating). They had to find Demesnes or Manses to attune to and chillax in to regain essence, or get people to pray to them.
What's more, to STAY materialized, gods and demons have to spend HALF their materialization cost every sunrise, or instantly dematerialize. That leaves spirits horrifically vulnerable if they materialize anywhere there is no essence available... half their pool is gone right away, and they'll last another two sunrises if they don't use any Charms.
But then comes along Mr. Ed Second, and he says on p.295 that a spirit stays materialized for a number of days equal to the motes spent on materialization (if 40 motes spent to materialize, 40 days allowed in Creation before having to spend the essence again). Furthermore, the spirit regains essence as normal, regardless of materialization status.
The Change's Effect
This SIGNIFICANTLY alters the setting by allowing gods to walk in Creation without needing to secure themselves a source of essence. In the first ed, if a spirit didn't have a place to recharge, it's crippled right off the bat, and thus can only duck into Creation here and there to poke things into the place it wants them before vanishing again unless it secures a powerful source of essence. It keeps the gods and demons dematerialized, and it keeps the elementals in the world with the meatbags. In 2E any spirit can materialize, meditate in a cave for a day or two, and then come out ready to kick ass for around a month, with no worries that he'll be low on essence when the time comes to pay up again.
So which is better?
The flavor is significantly altered. Do you want the gods much more cut off from Creation, only joining mortals in times of dire need? If the gods were originally just stewards and observers of their domains, technically forbidden to dink with Creation, the 1E interpretation fits much better. It keeps them mysterious and otherworldly. If you want to stress how prevalent the gods are in Creation in the Age of Sorrows, letting them essentially escape all duty and act as they please, gods running amok, the 2E style will work better for you. Oh yeah, the mountain spirit lives on the beach now, eating coconuts all day and scratching his belly when he's not having sex with fishermen and scallops.
Which is better? The golden rule, the golden rule, of course of course.
But we're here to discuss, not embrace such namby-pamby relativism! Why the huge disparity? What seems to make more SENSE to the setting? Of course STs can do what they please, but it'd be great to get solid arguments for each side so those of us Edition-mixers have a better idea which way to go.
And So, The 'Zens Discussed
I just can't decide which version I would ask to prom, myself. Thus all of this. --UncleChu
- First a rule-clarification. Isn't the essence used to stay materialized committed? Thus, you can't easily recharge, beyond a certain point? In addition, without the keyword "stackable", you can't re-apply the same charm for greater effect - thus, if you enter Creation on a 5-day pass (for whatever reason, including not wanting to have more than 5m committed), at the end of the fourth night, you can't just add more motes and extend your stay - you need to go home, and re-engage the charm. Admittedly, that gives you the option of going home every night, for 30 seconds, and re-engaging another 1 day pass for 1m. Still, details like this need clarifying if we're to fully analyze the situation. -- GreenLantern, who loves his data
- Committment depends on the duration given to the Materialize charm, which isn't listed in 2nd ed. If the duration is "Instant", then the motes are not committed. In first edition core book, Materialize is "Indefinite", but that seems to have been overridden. The strong implication of 2nd Edition in the last line on pg 295 is that motes to materialize are not committed. Canonically, it is slightly ambiguous, but that's the way I'd play it. -- Wordman
I think myself that I'll kind of do a mix. I think daily update costs are crazy high, so I'd allow a spirit to stay materialized for the days-per-motes equation, and I wouldn't make it committed. However, I'll stick with the 1E no-respiration-outside-natural-state. If a spirit wants to regain essence, it needs the prayers or a place of power, or perhaps some specific item to consume (individual to each spirit... like needing to eat ravens, or cilantro, or whatever else is commonly sacrificed to the Gods) to regain a bit of essence. If the gods are created to observe Creation, they shouldn't be rewarded by physically becoming a part of it. --UncleChu
Change 2: The Importance of Attack Pools
It used to be that you had two ways of hitting someone - rolling better than them (chance and a big die pool help) or catching them without a defense. Solars with FLB or FFBS had a great time here, as they could ignore the latter problem (they always had a reflexive defense), and if smart, could use the other method of defending in tandem (Reserving actions for parry while FLB is active, for example). At the drop of a hat, a Solar could both have high pools (stacked defenses) and reflexive defenses. Everyone else, however, couldn't. And thus fighting styles emerged. People could use multi-attacks, trying to exhaust your non-reflexive defenses, then punch through for the win, with a 90+% chance to hit on 7 dice against your now undefended self. Counterattacks were great, as even though they were often at low pool, they quickly reduced your opponent's remaining defenses, and even 3 dice has an 80+% chance of hitting an undefended opponent. In 2E, this goes away. Low-die-pool attacks just aren't as useful, as they'll never break through a DV. Since you've got Dex+Dodge pools in the 10 range, plus Essence, Dodge DV's often have a reasonable minimum of 4-5. Given that, any attack with less than 4 dice just isn't worth it. At the same time, however, an attack pool of 7 dice has a fairly good chance of punching through, reliably. In 1E, if you were worried that an attack might slip past one defense, you did both. Thus, if you had Dex+Dodge+Ess of, say, 12, and your opponent had a 12 attack pool, you might be inclined to parry and dodge, bringing you up to 24 dice, and saving your bacon. (As otherwise it's even odds if he hits). In 2E, there's no such chance. If he's got 12 dice, and you've got Dodge and Parry DV's of 6 each, that's that - there's no 'last ditch boost'. There's no true Invincible Sword Princess with FLB and FFBS up, and a reflexive defense pool upwards of 25 dice. The best acheivable DV's are in the 7 range. Thus, the 'curve' of how useful a given attack pool is has shifted dramatically. It's far steeper now. At low attack pools, you'll pretty much never ever hit against anyone, ever. Since you can't exploit lack of available defense, you can hope their DV drops due to lots of flurries etc, but really, you can't catch an opponent without a defense and gut him. This also saves the bacon of non-strategic PC's, as it means a wisely played stealthed NPC archer can't unload a combo into their spine when they forgot to hold a defense. Thus, low-pool attacks aren't useful. High-pool attacks, on the other hand, are much more useful, as without stacked defenses, a 13-die attack pool will pretty much hit at least 50% of the time - there's no way to get a 24-die defense pool. Thus, a crazy Lunar attack pool of 17 (easily possible in DBT form) tears through almost anything, as it'll punch through a DV of 8 more than half of the time. Against a Solar with Stacked Defenses, though, said Solar was still quite safe. And getting a DV of 8 isn't easy - it takes Dex5, Dodge5, Specialty3, Ess3 to get it. And some starting Lunar is just waltzing through it, more than 60% of the time.
So what game effects does this have? Well, it means that low-powered Excellencies are much more useful. Where before, once you had a way to stack defenses (such as Full-Dodge + GEB, or even just splitting your pool twice and using both), even a mortal could come up with a defense pool of 20-ish pretty quick (and a resulting DV-like value of 10-ish), now, you're stuck at a Dodge DV and Parry DV of 5 each. There's far less chance to get caught with your pants down and undefended, but it's much harder to become 'unhittable' by an Exalt. A Solar with base 13 pool, boosted to 17 (for only a few motes) can punch through almost any currently acheivable DV more than half of the time. Things like Infinite Mastery make this all the more scary. Without perfect defenses, any attack pool of 17 or higher is very dangerous. It used to be you needed some obscene 25-die monster attack to have even odds of punching through stacked defenses, but no longer. At the same time, multiple low-powered attacks just don't do it anymore, as unless you can break a DV of 4 consistently, you'll just never get your enemy that low. It's easy enough to apply every other incoming attack to first your Dodge DV, then your Parry DV, and back and forth, to keep things reasonably high.
And So, The 'Zens Discussed
It's actually still quite possible to get insanely high DVs, it just takes a bit more work. Infinite Melee or Dodge Mastery, at Essence 3, boosts your defense by 1 or 2, on average; at Essence 4 you can just commit a ton of motes and have a DV of 13. Snake Form and a SSS gives you a Parry DV of 9 and -3 die to hit you; Ebon Shadow, presumably, would be able to boost your DV by your Essence for the scene. Finally, if your opponent burns motes to attack, you can burn motes to defend the same way. :) - FrivYeti
- Yeah. Another one I've seen is +10 defence weapons via Glorious Solar Saber. Honestly, I would allow it as the charm is expensive and useless otherwise. Perfect armor can reduce mobility penalties also, so sheilds make a bit more sense. And using 8Mastery requires you to use a charm. I do think that onslaught penalties apply to all your DV's so you can't alternate Dodge and Parry to kep your DV high. -FlowsLikeBits
I like the "one base mechanic that you can do anything with" in 1st ed (and like some of the caste/magic mechanics they've come up with for 2nd ed). DVs add another layer of complexity that I'd rather not make my players (all pretty new to Exalted) deal with even though they reduce dice rolling.